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Movie Review: Red Riding Hood

Let me be the first one to say that I was a bit skeptical going into this movie. Sure, the idea of a modern retelling of this classic fairy tale intrigued me, but of course, a remake of a well known story can always go either way. Plus, the fact that Catherine Hardwicke - who's highly identified as the first director of Twilight - directed this film. But surprise! surprise! I seriously enjoyed Red Riding Hood.

Yes, there were similarities to Twilight in this film - you know, the cheesy love triangle, Billy Burke and all that jazz - but I actually didn't mind. I liked that the film kept the story relatively simple with the basic character set up and tone of the original, but updated it in a rather engaging terms. The twist and turns were actually unexpected, if a bit anti-climactic - especially the 'big reveal' at the end. I admit, the plot - in parts - fell flat, and the characters had curiously American accents, but I got pass that after a while because that was something I shockingly forgot as the story progressed.

I guess, thanks to Catherine Hardwicke? Haha. Kidding aside, I have to give her credit because she succeeded in creating a dark, tense and foreboding atmosphere in this film. Did she execute the film perfectly? No - far from it actually - but I understood her vision and although it was flawed, I honestly thought that she did a great job with this film.

The acting performances, on the other hand, were a bit of a mixed bag for me. Amanda Seyfriend, once again, impressed me as the lead character. She was bold and rebellious, but at the same time maintained her innocent streak. I also felt that she managed to pull through despite all the cheesy lines she had to throw in. Ha! Gary Oldman and Julie Christie also gave solid performances, but they are seasoned veterans already and I wouldn't expect anything less from them. On the downside though, Shiloh Fernandez and Max Iron must have been cast for their teen idol looks and yes, I'll stop there. Go figure.

On a technical standpoint, it was, naturally, above reproach. Visually, it was everything that people - including me - complained about Twilight lacking. The cinematography was beautiful with the breathtaking juxtapositions of color and elements. The set production values and costume designs were gorgeous and the visual effects - especially the design of the big bad wolf - were all aces. The camerawork could've been better, but that's already me nitpicking, so whatever.

The original soundtrack was also brilliant. I mean, I rarely notice the sounds in films, but this one seemed to have a special attention given to them that drew me right from the beginning. The sensuous soundtrack actually elevated one of the film's demented scenes - a pagan dance - into something extraordinary. Yes, it was THAT good.

One minor - yes, minor - quibble though about the movie was the fact that it was too timid. True, it hinted sex and violence here and there but it didn't have enough balls to pursue either. I don't know.

Ultimately, Red Riding Hood didn't break any boundaries in film making. It's not even the greatest film EVER. However, this crowd pleasing guilty pleasure will exceed all your expectations as it did with mine. It's a solid effort on a sexually charged dramatic thriller based on a familiar children's bedtime story. Who's not intrigued by that?

Movie Review: Red Riding Hood Reviewed by DAM on 3:22 AM Rating: 5

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